The Challenge of Grace

968281_45652240This week we are going to be looking at a really important but a challenging topic. We are going to be looking at grace. We are specifically going to be looking at the parable of the Unmerciful Servant in Matthew 28 and how it should shape our lives.

So to get us started on thinking about grace, I want to post a rather lengthy, but very thought provoking passage on grace. It’s written by Jay Bakker and I want to post it to get us thinking about grace, and what it means. And then we’ll come back to this quote on Sunday.

So here it is and I hope it gets not only your mind but your heart thinking about what grace really is (p.s. I highlighted two of my favorite lines):

We cheapen grace when we make it temporary, a ticket to an afterlife; when we say grace gets you into heaven, but holiness is what is required of you now. If grace isn’t about ‘right now’, but instead about ‘in the future’ then we are tempted to make it something we can earn in the time between. We might not have earned gracebefore we received, but we think we have to continually earn it again now that it’s ours. We do this because we desperately want to have some control over grace. We want even the smallest ability to claim that we somehow earned this grace, that we’ve got it. Which in turn allows us to say that other people don’t have it. If we’ve earned grace, other people can fail to earn it. …But that’s not how grace works. It’s a pull on us that we surrender to. We have nothing to do with it… Christians are always looking for someone or something grace can’t cover. So we end up putting restrictions on grace…in order for grace to truly be grace, it has to extend to absolutely everyone, no matter what, no questions, no expectations. Otherwise we think that somehow by living a moral life, or giving to the poor or voting a certain way or dedicating our lives to a certain thing, we’ve deserved it… We never let grace overwhelm us…Rather than being humbled and baffled by grace, we draw lines around who is in and who is out and pretend we’ve done something to earn grace. Our fear that we are accepted no matter what leads us to restrict grace, to redefine it, as if somehow we could possibly understand or control grace… People will live untransformed by grace. Some will use it as an excuse to be uncaring. Others will use it as a license to sin. But none of them will ever be transformed through legalism…when they are transformed they will be transformed by grace… When we really understand it, we will always find grace offensive. And that’s exactly the way it should be. If we start to feel comfortable with grace, then we’ve lost what it really means.

What do you think? What lines do you like or wonder about?

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